HI, Lobster and Last Legend,
I still think the first couple of posts in the thread were pretty much on target. Here's mine:
Kim O'Hara wrote:
... What we are finding is that ethics and morality must be stated in non-religious terms, even when all or most religions agree. That is, we can't say, "Don't kill because jesus says it's a sin," but we have to say, "Don't kill because it makes the world a worse place."
In those terms, the Buddha's teachings on morality are fine - but have to be presented on their own merits, not "because the Buddha said so."
The Dalai Lama explored these ideas in a recent book called (iirc) "Against Religion". It's good.
And yes, it could start with something as simple as "Be kind". A number of smart people have said that it's central. (Here - http://zenpencils.com/comic/118-roger-ebert-on-kindness/
- is another one that I came across recently - well worth five minutes.)
I think the next contender has to the the Golden Rule, in some form or other. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule
The key points are that the core common morality has to be compatible with the core morality of (at least) the world's major religions and logically (philosophically?) defensible.